Faculty Research Page

Yang Dan

Yang Dan

Howard Hughes Investigator and Professor of Neurobiology

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Research Interests

Our research aims to elucidate (1) what circuits in the mammalian brain control sleep, and (2) mechanisms by which the frontal cortex exerts top-down executive control. We use a variety of techniques, including optogenetics, electrophysiology, imaging, and virus-mediated circuit tracing.

Current Projects

Neural circuits controlling sleep. Using optogenetic manipulation, optrode recording, and cell-type-specific calcium imaging, we identify neuronal types that play critical roles in the generation of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. Local synaptic interactions between cell types are measured by recordings in brain slices, and long-range connections are mapped using a variety of viral tools.

Function of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Combining electrophysiological recording, calcium imaging, and optogenetic manipulation in mice performing PFC-dependent tasks, we aim to understand how the PFC generate task-related activity, and how the activity regulates the downstream targets for optimal behavioral control.

Selected Publications

Froemke, R.C. and Dan, Y. (2002). Spike timing-dependent synaptic modification induced by natural  spike trains. Nature 416, 433-438.

Fu, Y., Djupsund, K., Gao, H., Hayden, B., Shen, K., and Dan, Y. (2002). Temporal specificity in the cortical plasticity of visual space representation. Science 296, 1999-2003.

Froemke, R.C., Poo, M.-m., and  Dan, Y. (2005). Spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity depends on dendritic location, Nature 434, 221-225.

Li, C.T., Poo, M.-m. and Dan, Y. (2009). Burst spiking of a single cortical neuron modifies global brain state. Science 324, 643-646.

Li, Y., Lu, H., Cheng, P., Ge, S., Xu, H., Shi, S.-H., and Dan, Y. (2012). Clonally related visual cortical neurons show similar stimulus feature selectivity. Nature 486, 118-121.

Lee, S.-H., Kwan, A.C., Zhang, S., Phoumthipphavong, V., Flannery, J.G., Masmanidis, S.C., Taniguchi, H., Huang, Z.J., Zhang, F., Boyden, E.S., Deisseroth, K., and Dan, Y. (2012). Activation of specific interneurons improves V1 feature selectivity and visual perception. Nature 488, 379-383.

Pinto, L., Goard, M.J., Estandian, D., Xu, M., Kwan, A.C., Lee, S.H., Harrison, T.C., Feng, G., Dan, Y. (2013). Fast modulation of visual perception by basal forebrain cholinergic neurons. Nat. Neurosci. 16, 1857-1863.

Zhang, S., Xu, M., Kamigaki, T., Hoang, J.P., Chang, W.C., Jenvay, S., Miyamichi, K., Luo, L., Dan, Y. (2014). Long-range and local circuits for top-down modulation of visual cortex processing. Science 345, 660-665.

Pinto, L., Dan, Y. (2015) Cell-type-specific activity in prefrontal cortex during goal-directed behavior. Neuron 87, 437-450.

Weber, F., Chung, S., Beier, K.T., Luo, L., Dan, Y. (2015). Control of REM sleep by ventral medulla GABAergic neurons. Nature 526, 435-438.

Xu, M., Chung, S., Zhang, S., Zhong, P., Ma, C., Chang, W.-C., Weissbourd, B., Sakai, N., Luo, L., Nishino, S., and Dan, Y. (2015). Basal forebrain circuit for sleep-wake control. Nat. Neurosci., in press.  

Last Updated 2015-10-24